For Ritchie Herron, a bright and articulate civil servant from Newcastle, life over the past four years has become almost unbearable. It takes him ten minutes to empty his bladder, a process as painful as it is slow. Any sex drive is long gone. In fact, he says, his crotch is numb, ‘shell-shocked’ from the damage done to him under the apparent care of the NHS.
‘Numb’ rather sums up Ritchie’s whole demeanour as he struggles to process what has happened to him. Today he reveals – in an exclusive interview – that he is the man preparing legal action against the NHS over an operation that removed his genitals.
Ritchie’s case emerged last week when he posted about his experience on Twitter under a pseudonym, TullipR. His brief testimony, which was picked up by the Daily Mail, was as shocking as it was damning for the NHS ‘gender clinics’ that help people change sex.
Battling mental health issues – and after decades of suppressing his homosexuality – Ritchie, 35, had thought the answer was to become a woman. But instead, he says, he was fast-tracked into making ‘the biggest mistake of his life’ and left infertile, incontinent and with ongoing pain.
Not only had the NHS clinic failed to take into account his spiralling mental health crisis, he claims, but it had also failed to properly counsel him about the risks.
Ritchie has decided to waive his anonymity to tell the story of his ordeal in full, detail the physical and mental scars he has been left with – and warn there are more like him ready to take legal action over the surgery they bitterly regret.
His account raises serious questions about the safeguards in place at NHS gender clinics, which have seen a 1,700 per cent rise in referrals over the past ten years, accounted for mainly by children and young adults.
The speed at which Ritchie – who had been living as a woman called Abby – was diagnosed and subsequently referred for irreversible surgery is disturbing in itself.
In fact, he says, he had repeatedly turned down the procedure and had voiced deep misgivings to the clinic’s staff about having it.
His case, he believes, could spark a wave of further claims.
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Source: Daily Mail